Senate approves LaSata’s tasting room fix bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata that would fix an unintended consequence of tasting room legislation signed last session.

“My bill provides an important fix to ensure that our local producers of wine, beer, and other spirits may sample and sell all of their offerings at the same location,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “I appreciate the Moersch Hospitality Group for bringing this issue to my attention.”

Senate Bill 897 would reform the law to allow wineries, breweries, and distilleries to operate both an on-premises tasting room and an off-premises tasting room at the same location, under certain conditions.

During committee testimony last week, Matt Moersch, who is the CEO and partner of Moersch Hospitality Group, said his operation is one of a few in Michigan that manufactures Michigan-made wine, spirits, and beer. He said that not being able to sell all of their craft beverages at their Coloma location, like they do at other locations licensed before the 2018 legislation was passed, has prevented them from growing their business.

“The unintended consequence of the prior law is preventing companies like Moersch from creating more jobs and, perhaps worse, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is holding up the approval of license applications until the problem is corrected,” LaSata said. “I appreciate the support of my colleagues in getting this bill approved quickly, and I am hopeful the House of Representatives will do the same.”

SB 897 now advances to the House for consideration.